Parenting A Child With ADHD

 

The Ultimate Mom's Guide to Helping Their ADHD Child Improve Their Focus Skills

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A 4 Step Guide For Mom's Whose Child Has ADHD.

 

Article Contains: 

  • 4 Comprehensive Sections To Helping Your Child Improve Focus Skills
  • Each Section Has Links To Other Relevant Articles & Offsite Content
  • We Will Continue To Update This Article Every Week On ADHD Related News

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Section I - At Home 

Before & After School & Weekends 


When at home and the family is together
  1. Eating Breakfast Daily May Help
  2. Create A Dependable Home Routine
  3. Give Them An Outlet For Excess Energy
  4. Set An Example
  5. Divide Up Larger Tasks
  6. Get In The Habit Of "Breath In & Breath Out"
  7. Everybody Loves Recess, Make It A Thing
  8. Limit Screen Time
  9. Keep Track Of Goals
  10. Tackle One Small Task At A Time

BONUS - FastBraiin - The "ADHD" Superpower You Never Knew You Had

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Section II - Learning At Home

At Home / In-Class (On Computer)

 

THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AT Home
  1. Establish An Emotionally Learning Environment
  2. Create a Homework Routine
  3. Take Breaks
  4. Give Positive Feedback
  5. Busting Through Procrastination
  6. Using The FastBraiin Study Method
  7. Linking and Loci Methods
  8. Cultivate Creative Play 
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Section III - At School

School Grounds / In Class

THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AT SCHOOL
  1. Establish a Parent/Teacher Relationship
  2. Share Your Home Strategies.
  3. Implement test anxiety-reducing strategies.
  4. Using A Behavioral Chart
  5. Prepare For School Success At Home
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Section IV - Everyday Life

Overall Strategies For Everyday Living

Enjoying Life To The Fullest With Your Child
    1. Non-medication: Focus Like An Olympian
    2. Using Vitamins & Supplements
    3. Using Mindful Mediation
    4. Exercising & Yoga
    5. Essential Oils To Use
    6. Cognitive-behavioral therapy
    7. Art Music & Games To Play
    8. Biofeedback / Nuerofeedback
    9. Focus Games For Kids
    10. Parent Training
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What is FastBraiin - Watch this video from our founder Dr. Jim

 

What does FastBraiin do?  Well, it gives you superpowers of course!

Introduction 

Attention and focus are skills your child can learn and strengthen. 

It’s a myth that some kids are born with the ability to focus while others aren’t. 

All children have the ability – some are just naturally more apt than others at sitting still, listening, and paying attention. 

If your child is on the opposite end of the spectrum, they’re not a hopeless case. That holds true even if you’re constantly getting notes from school about your student’s disruptive behavior, even if your child is failing classes due to poor concentration, and even if he or she can’t seem to sit still for two seconds at a time. 

Don’t get me wrong—it takes time, patience, practice, and cooperation with the right people. However, in the end, doing the work ensures your child has all the tools they need to succeed at school and in life.

Consider this comprehensive guide your starter kit to improve your child’s focus. 

Here at FastBraiin, we help children with ADHD thrive. We help mom's navigate the lifelong journey of learning about ADHD. 

Ready to learn? Let’s dive into the first section, which includes general tips to help your child focus during their day-to-day activities.

Section I

At Home

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Common Traits In Kids With ADHD 

 

You may already notice this or have been told by a specialist, that the lack of focus and extreme difficulty in paying attention are amongst the top executive function skills to be in "deficit" 

Understood.org defines executive function as the following: 

Executive function is a set of mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. We use these skills every day to learn, work, and manage daily life. Trouble with executive function can make it hard to focus, follow directions, and handle emotions, among other things.

As we zoom in to the last part of this definition, we see that the result of poor executive function results in increased difficulty to focus and follow directions for your child. It's certainly not that they are doing it on purpose or trying to ruin your day or even your week.

Teaching them the right skills and giving them the right tools along with a ton of love and encouragement, will see a dramatic increase in their ability to become over-achievers, which is very contrary to what some believe. 

Thinking of concentration as a skill that can be built up over time is a growth-focused approach to solving the problem of your child’s inattention.

Stay positive, patient, and don’t give up. Your child looks to you to set the tone for any challenge they face. Be a model for them and implement some of these tips to start building focus. 

 

Key Statistics 

According to research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Learning and Instruction, the average elementary school student is distracted 25% of the time.

The study also found that attention spans generally decreased during long spans of instruction and when the teacher was engaging the whole classroom of students.

For kids who have trouble focusing in school, situations like these represent more mountains to climb. Unfortunately, your child is going to run into these scenarios time and time again during their schooling – and you won’t be there to help.

Luckily, there are some ways you can help your child at home that will make it easier for them to focus at school.

 


Highlights

  1. Eating Breakfast Daily May Help Improve Academic Performance
  2. Create A Dependable Home Routine
  3. Give Them An Outlet For Excess Energy
  4. Set An Example
  5. Divide Up Larger Tasks
  6. Get In The Habit Of "Breath In & Breath Out" 
  7. Everybody Loves Recess, Make It A Thing
  8. Limit Screen Time
  9. Keep Track Of Goals
  10. Tackle One Small Task At A Time

BONUS - FastBraiin - The "ADHD" Superpower You Never Knew You HAD


 

1. Eating Breakfast Daily May Help Improve Academic Performance

Along with your child’s habits and environment, of equal importance for improving focus and attention are their diet and nutrition.

The food your kid eats fuels their body and mind, and may directly impact their behavior.

According to a study published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience, eating a good breakfast each morning before school correlated with a positive effect on children's academic performance, particularly their mathematical and arithmetic grades.

Artificial Colors and Preservatives in Food Are Suspect

In another study published in The Lancet, researchers found that artificial colors and specific preservatives in food (like sodium benzoate) increased hyperactivity in both 3-year-olds and 8-9-year-olds

2. Create a Dependable Home Routine

A good home routine, including a consistent sleep schedule and meals at roughly the same time each day, can do a lot to improve a child’s focus at school.

When your child gets in a sleep routine, especially, they’ll go to school well-rested and ready to face the day.

When your child is lacking sleep, that could equal more trouble paying attention plus more irritability and frustration, according to a study published in Pediatrics. That means firm rules about bedtime (no ifs, ands, or buts) can actually help a child focus better in school.

3. Give Them an Outlet for Excess Energy

For antsy, hyper kids, a long day at school is akin to torture. Recess might not be enough to help them shake out their excess energy.

That’s why having an outlet for your child is a great idea. This can include team sports, gymnastics, or some other activity, but don’t rule out a good playground session or a game of tag with their siblings, either.

Today, scientists understand that play lights up the neocortex in the brain, which is responsible for higher-order functions like cognition, sensory perception, and language.

Giving your kids free time to play and run around after school (without electronic devices) may help them perform better when it’s time to focus.

 

4. Set an Example

Like it or not, your child notices your actions and models your behavior. If you’re constantly multi-tasking, not focusing on one activity, and gluing yourself to a screen at every opportunity, your child will have a harder time improving, themselves.

As they say, monkey see, monkey do. Set an example of focus for your child.

Practice giving one task your full attention. When you have a conversation, put down your phone and turn off the TV. During homework times and family mealtimes, limit distractions and encourage a focused environment (TV off!).

5. Divide up larger tasks 

Facing a huge task can seem insurmountable when you look at it all at once. Presenting your child with a giant project (i.e. complete these 30 math problems, clean your entire room, set the table with all the place settings) is a good way to set them up for failure.

More than likely, your child will start the task with good intentions, get distracted or lose focus, and then fail to complete it.
Instead, break big tasks into bite-sized jobs. Put all the focus on the smaller tasks, and when each is completed, take a break before diving into the next one.

For example, instead of saying “do your homework,” say “let’s finish three math problems before dinner.”

6. Get in the habit of "breath in" and "breath out"

Research has shown that a group of nerves in the brain that regulate breathing are connected to the brain’s arousal center. When you keep your breath calm and slow, your brain is signaled to keep at an even keel, as well.

That’s why, when your child starts losing focus, taking deep breaths can help calm them, reduce anxiety, and re-center their attention.

Use a technique like deep belly breathing to help your child learn to slow down and concentrate when it gets tough. For best results, practice when they’re calm so they get the hang of the technique.

 

7. Everybody loves recess, make it a thing!

Concentrating is naturally harder for kids than adults. That’s why it’s important to let them take breaks between focus sessions – especially for those kids who are fidgety.

Encourage them to get up, move around, and play during breaks so they can sit down again later feeling refreshed and revived

Exercise is an important player for any healthy lifestyle, but your unfocused child will benefit even more from daily movement and exertion.

Happy father and his children playing with a wheelbarrow on a sunny day
Exercising causes stress hormones to drop, encourages the growth of brain cells, and creates new connections between them. On top of that, a study has found that exercise encourages the growth of brain cells in the region called the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and learning.

In short, daily exercise primes your child’s brain for learning how to focus. It helps them release excess energy, too.

However, while exercise is a big deal, team sports aren’t the only way to get your child moving. Children may also get their daily exercise through unstructured play – so let them loose in the backyard or on the playground, too.


8. Limit Screen Time

Kids who spend too much time in front of screens may be at a disadvantage at school.

Children 8-10 spend 6 hours a day in front of a screen

(image credit: cdc.gov)

Research has shown that kids who spend more than seven hours in front of an electronic screen incurred physical changes to their brains, including premature thinning of the cortex (which usually doesn’t happen until middle age).

The same study showed that kids who spent over two hours per day in front of screens scored lower on thinking and language tests.
Bottom line?

Limit your kids’ screen time, especially if they have attention and focus issues at school.

Encourage non-screen activities and hobbies, like participating in sports, playing outside, or playing with toys, board games, or puzzles.

 

9. Keep Track of Goals

Tracking focus goals is a fantastic way to follow your child’s progress and celebrate their victories with them. Each day, set an attainable goal to shoot for, ideally a task that requires your child’s focus and concentration.

For example, set a goal of sitting down for 5-10 minutes of quiet time daily. Or, give them a few small chores weekly that need focus to complete, like making their bed or putting away their clothes. When they achieve their daily or weekly goals, record them. At the end of the week, tally up the goals they met and celebrate them.

This way, you’ll help your child build skills they’ll take with them to school – not to mention build their confidence.

Here are some of the web's best resources to help you get started keeping track of goals. 

  1.  Treatment and target outcomes by Healthchidlren.com
  2. Setting target goals by ADDRC.org
  3. ADHD Goal Examples PDF by cmc-pa.com
  4. Tracking my child ADHD progress by lifeofdrmom.com
  5. Tracking progress sheet by hschealth.org

 

10. Tackle One Small Task at a Time

One mistake many parents make when helping their kids with their homework is spending too much time on a big task.

Instead, break homework time into smaller pieces. For example, instead of doing one 30-40-minute homework session per week, try 10-minute sessions 3-4 times per week. You’ll accomplish much more in the shorter sessions, especially if your child is usually antsy, distracted, and procrastinating for much of the longer session.

This strategy is called chunking, or micro productivity.

BONUS - FastBraiin - The "ADHD" Superpower You Never Knew You Had

 

 

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Section II

At Home - Increasing Learning At Home

 

Developing A Learning Environment At Home That Helps Hold Attention

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Increase Learning At Home & Keeping Them Focused on the Tasks At Hand

  1. Establish An Emotionally Learning Environment
  2. Create a Homework Routine
  3. Take Breaks
  4. Give Positive Feedback 
  5. Busting Through Procrastination
  6. Using The FastBraiin Study Method 
  7. Linking and Loci Methods
  8. Cultivate Creative Play 

“Study habits at home are the differentiator between students who succeed and those who struggle.”

We start this section off by outlining some of the things one must do as a parent to help their child succeed to keep the focus and attention to the tasks at hand. 

Whether or not the "at school" part of the equation occurs in a home setting or in the form of a distant learning program when doing FastBraiin.  The very first step to developing an adequate approach to help your child with their ADHD is to consider altering the way we think about ADHD. 

The way we'd encourage everyone to think about ADHD is to 1. flip it right on its head, just like the book says and 2. when we talk about ADHD out loud, we refer to it as Fastbraiin. 

My child doesn't have ADHD, he has Fastbraiin. For one thing, it turns what we know currently as a negative stigma and we position it as a positive quality and recognize that with a few adjustments in how we approach life in general, we can make a difference. 

The reason for low grades is that within the current medical and education systems, there is a discrepancy between how we currently understand the ADHD brain and how we teach students. In the typical medical journey, the health provider gives the patient a survey and sends them to an expensive psychologist for ADHD testing.

The report then comes back to the provider with the diagnosis, and the patient is put on medication—all without providing a single learning strategy or tracking an individual’s outcome

 

1.  Establish An Emotionally Learning Environment

We share this technique first because it is of paramount importance. Nothing is as critical to your child’s learning as creating an environment that is emotionally encouraging.

The brain is incredibly complex; the more we learn about the brain, the more we realize how much we don’t know. Medical books and websites are regularly updated with thousands of pages of new information.

Any perceived threat will cause stress levels to rise, whether it’s a tiger, teacher, or an upset parent.

Threats, pressures, and stresses undo positive emotions for children and can come in any form. It could happen when they are scolded for not cleaning their room, when a note from the teacher comes home, when they make a bad grade, when faced with social pressures, or when there is parental conflict in the home.

Your language and behavior must encourage and build your child’s confidence.

 

2. Create A Homework Routine

For most kids, school doesn’t end when the last bell rings. They often have homework they must complete by a deadline, oo.

For a child who has trouble focusing, sitting still, or concentrating, homework is the last thing they want to do after a day full of focused activities they probably found very difficult.

However, there are ways to help them focus and get it done. Here’s how to help your child concentrate on homework.

The more peaceful and distraction-free the environment, the better the chance your child has at zeroing in on their homework.

For starters, make sure the TV is turned off and phones are out of reach. Even if your child can hear the TV from where they’re working, that will more than likely make them lose focus.

Set aside a special “Homework Station”. It may be a good idea to set aside a special “homework station” in your home – a particular place where your child can sit down comfortably, spread out, and focus on getting their schoolwork done.

Ideally, this area should have a desk or table, a good source of light, and be located away from busy areas of the house.

No tasks other than study and homework should happen here, so when your child sits down in the homework station, they’ll know it’s time to buckle down.

 

3. Take Breaks

If you must do a longer homework session, remember to take breaks throughout. Implement 10-minute sessions of focus with 5-minute breaks between them. During this time, your child can get up, move around, have a snack, and relax.

Adding breaks to homework time helps your child refresh and “get out the wiggles” so they can sit down and focus when needed.

 

4. Give Positive Feedback

When your child successfully focuses and completes their homework session, remember to offer praise and words of encouragement. A simple “good job!” will go a long way toward helping your child understand the importance of being able to sit down, focus, and complete what they set out to do.

 

5. Busting Through Procrastination

One of the most significant obstacles to learning is procrastination.

We put off doing schoolwork, delay studying, and then cram our brains for the test, only to forget everything as we walk out the door. Procrastination is an enemy of effective learning, productivity, and reaching one’s potential.

Have you ever walked into your child’s room and wondered why they were playing video games or drawing and not doing their homework?

And then you find out that the test is tomorrow, or that the project is due in two days, and you realize there is no way your child is going to be ready for the test or can finish the project.

The reason is simple—video games and drawing are more fun than doing homework. Before we get too upset with our kids, we need to realize that we have these same behavioral patterns.

We constantly put off what we need to do, don’t we? We do “other” stuff that might be important but is not a priority, ignoring the one thing that needs to get done. It’s just more fun to clean out our desks or check our email than to get back to the task at hand. Here are a few quick things you can do to bust through that mindset: 

  1. Use the Pomodoro Technique
  2. Play Music 
  3. Think Reward
  4. Exercise

 

6. Using The FastBraiin Study Method

The FastBraiin learning method involves three steps: engage, retrieve, and repeat. Each step is critical to the method’s success.

 

Step 1 - Engage - The first step in your child’s learning is for them to engage with their subject.

If they are not going to class or not studying at home, they won’t know the material at test time.

The more actively engaged your child is with their study material, the greater impression that information will make in their brain, and the more likely they will understand and remember what’s being taught..

Step 2 - Retrieve -After your child has engaged with the subject and stored information in their brain, it’s time to retrieve that information.

If there is one technique that will give your child the biggest bang for their study time, it’s this—to spend time retrieving information, testing themselves to see if they know it, and correcting mistakes as they go.

This is the opposite of mindlessly reviewing, which many times makes us think we know something when we really don’t.

Step 3 - Repeat - We’ve engaged, we’ve retrieved, and now it’s time to repeat the process.

Repetition is absolutely critical to the formation of memory.

The focus is still on forming strong neural pathways through the formation of myelin. With every repetition, myelin is applied and reinforced.

It must be stressed again, however, that it is the repetition of memory through recall (not mindlessly reviewing) that most efficiently builds myelin and solidifies a memory in the brain.

What we mean by reviewing is that your child goes over all of their material. Regardless of what it is, they need to engage with everything again. The process of reviewing needs to incorporate elements of speed and retrieval.

It is up to you to get the necessary material from the teacher. Constant reviewing becomes easier and faster each time your child reviews, further solidifying the neural connections.

 

7.  Linking & Loci Methods

Turn numbers/words into pictures, and use those pictures to form a story. It’s as simple as that. Your brain will do the rest.

The two primary methods that employ this technique are the method of linking and the method of loci (Latin for “locations”).

In order to understand the value of this technique for your child, it’s a good idea for you to experience it personally.

Try the following exercises. First, let’s consider the method of linking, where you will be “linking” two images together through the use of a story. This works great for whenever you need to memorize random facts that don’t require being recalled as part of a list or sequence.

Once you have your images, all you need to do is “link” them together through the use of a story.  Again, be as creative and ridiculous as you can, and put yourself in the story to make it more memorable.

For example, imagine you are sitting down at Thanksgiving dinner and in the middle of the table is that huge ham. Just as everyone is about to eat, you jump up and pour the milkshake all over the ham!

 

8. Cultivate Creative Play

Helping your child learn is about supporting their passion and giving them space for creative expression.

It’s not about making them mindlessly learn facts.

It’s about opening their world through exploration, discovery, and imagination.

Einstein once explained, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited.

Imagination encircles the world.”25 Expect your child to learn facts taught in school but also encourage them to express their creativity, to dream, and to wonder.

That is what play is all about.

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Section III

At School

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THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AT SCHOOL
  1. Establish a Parent/Teacher Relationship
  2. Advocate For Your Child 
  3. Implement test anxiety-reducing strategies.
  4. Using A Behavioral Chart
  5. Prepare For School Success At Home

 

1. Establish a Parent/Teacher Relationship

Establishing a relationship with your child’s teacher is critical.

The goal should be to form a partnership between you and the teacher that mutually and cooperatively seeks to benefit your child.

School is usually the first place parents learn that their child has an issue, and the teacher is most often the person who breaks that news. 

It’s critical that your child believe that you and the teacher are on the same page and that you are working together.

Make sure your child knows that you support the teacher’s classroom policies and expectations. 

2. Advocate For Your Child

Your child has every right to be successful, and it is your job to expect that your child will be successful. Talk with the school counselor or principal. Help is available; don’t stop until you find it.

Schools across the United States use this process for both academic and behavioral issues.

The RTI helps your child’s teacher identify interventions that will improve your child’s specific challenges..

This type of assessment will help the school determine whether specialized services are needed.

3. Implement test anxiety-reducing strategies

Anxiety can start at an early age. We do not treat anxiety with medication until a child is at least 8–10 years of age, and only if the anxiety is causing significant difficulty in the child’s ability to function within their environment.

It’s not uncommon for FastBraiin individuals to struggle with testing due to the anxiety they experience in the moment.

A child becomes particularly frustrated when they know the answers to a test but fail to perform when it matters. Here are a few things you can do:
  • Develop good test-taking skills
  • Ask to take the test alone and not with the class
  • Try helping your child keep a positive thought in their mind
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Listen to music. 
  • Practice taking timed tests beginning three days before a test.

4. Using A Behavioral Chart

When students consistently have difficulty managing their behavior in the classroom, they may benefit from a chart to help them be more aware of their ongoing struggles.

Meet with the teacher and talk through the behavioral strategies that work best for your child.

Often ADHD children simply forget to follow the rules and need to be reminded . . . over and over.  Hopefully, they would be interested, since everyone wins when your child behaves better.

The chart should not be marked in any way if they have not mastered the behavior (i.e., the boxes remain empty so that only positive feedback appears).


5. Prepare For School Success At Home

Establish a morning routine to minimize stressors and reduce morning mayhem.

Make a list of the tasks your child must do to get ready for school.

Print a copy of the checklist and encourage your child to follow it.

  • Feed your child a healthy breakfast and pack a healthy lunch
  • Turn off the TV and video games in the morning, and turn them off two hours before bedtime.
  • Determine an after-school routine that will help the evenings be productive and efficient.
  • Have homework done and in a book bag by the door before going to bed.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Try to have your child go to bed at the same time every night.

A typical child, age 6–10, needs around 10 hours of sleep each night. Some may require more.

Use a timer to give the mornings a better flow. Place the timer on your child’s bedside table and at the breakfast table, and if your child beats the timer getting out of bed and dressed or getting to breakfast, you can reward them.

A list helps begin everyone’s day on the right foot.

Develop a similar routine after school and at bedtime to keep evenings calm.

When you embrace your child and talk positively with your child about school, the home remains a refuge, and a positive view of the school remains intact.

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Section IV

Everyday Life

 

B3A5BE2F-3495-4479-ABFF-D83146011495

Parenting Strategies For The Everyday Busy Mom 

  1. Non-medication: Focus Like An Olympian
  2. Using Vitamins & Supplements
  3. Using Mindful Mediation
  4. Exercising & Yoga
  5. Essential Oils To Use
  6. Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  7. Art Music & Games To Play
  8. Biofeedback / Nuerofeedback
  9. Focus Games For Kids
  10. Parent Training

1. Non-Medication: Focus Like An Olympic Athlete By Using Supplements


Natural remedies may play a supporting role alongside other strategies for improving your child’s attention and focus.

 

These aren’t miracle cures, but rather additional ways to help center your child, promote good health, and improve their well-being.

All of these things will make it easier for them to focus when they need to.

Natural remedies for better focus may include:

  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Yoga
  • Essential oils/aromatherapy

Let’s explore.

 

2. Vitamins & Supplements

The nutrients that are critical for a healthy brain in any person include vitamins and minerals like zinc, vitamin B, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium.

If your child has trouble focusing, try incorporating more foods into their diet that are rich in these nutrients, including:

  • Broccoli
  • Dark, leafy greens like spinach and
  • Kale
  • Oranges
  • Red peppers
  • Bananas
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Beef
  • Beans
  • Nuts and seeds (like pumpkin seeds)

If the foods they eat aren’t enough, supplements can help your kids get the nutrients they need, too.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Look for trusted brands with the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) seal on the label – it’s a marker of a quality product made to certain high standards
  • Don’t forget to note the percentage of DV (daily value) for each nutrient in the supplement.
  • If a brand promises more than 100% DV for a nutrient, skip it. Any nutrient in large doses can be toxic

3. Meditation/Mindfulness

Mindful meditation isn’t just for adults. It turns out kids can benefit from the practice, especially if they have trouble with focus and concentration.

The deep belly breathing I recommended in section 1 is a great place to start. Calming the breath also helps calm the body and mind, and gives your child a chance to have a moment of stillness.

This can help their thoughts settle and sharpen their focus.
There are lots of apps out there that can provide guidance on meditation for kids, too.

Just a few include:

  • Headspace Meditation for Kids
  • Smiling Mind
  • Breathe, Think, Do Sesame (for younger kids ages 2-5)
  • DreamyKid

4. Yoga

Yoga is a practice that combines mindfulness and meditation with bodily movement. Many studies have found yoga to be effective at helping kids gain greater calm and focus, and even increased their self-esteem.

To get your child started with yoga, check to see if there are any kids’ yoga classes at your local fitness or rec center. You can also find beginner yoga videos on YouTube and follow along with them as a family.


5. Essential Oils

While there is little scientific evidence to back up the efficacy of essential oils for improving focus, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence in their favor.

Plants and their oils have been used for thousands of years for healing, health, and wellness. Besides, having another natural remedy in your toolkit for calming and centering your child isn’t a bad idea.

The most common way to use essential oils is to dilute them with water and diffuse them into the air. Breathing in the scent of certain oils (aromatherapy) can help your child feel calmer and more focused by activating smell receptors in the nose, which may trigger certain areas of the brain, including the emotional center (the limbic system).

Some essential oils that are known to help with focus include:

  • Lavender
  • Roman chamomile
  • Lemon or orange
  • Ylang ylang
  • Vetiver

You can buy essential oils at your local health food store. They’re also available online from various retailers.

If you’re looking for a concrete way to practice focus and concentration with your child, you’ve come to the right place.


6. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

 

 

 

Older kids with problems like lack of focus, impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity may benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of talk therapy helps kids examine their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings and encourages them to replace negative ones with positive connotations.

CBT is especially good at uncovering thought biases your child may have about themselves that contribute to low focus. This therapy helps your child change those negative patterns of thinking for the long term.
Usually, CBT is done with a licensed therapist, counselor, social worker, or psychiatrist. It’s also effective at treating mental disorders like anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), ADHD, and sleep disorders.

To find a therapist who uses CBT as a treatment, consult with your doctor for recommendations. You can also search for therapists online on the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies website.


7. Art, Music, And Play Therapies

For children of all ages, therapies that use a hands-on approach can help improve issues like a distraction, hyperactivity, inattention, and lack of focus.

The most common include art, music, and play therapies.

  • Art therapy – Art therapy teaches children to focus on artistic techniques like painting, drawing and sculpting to help them learn to hone their concentration, clear their mind, and express themselves.

  • Music therapy – The rhythm and structure of music provide a solid framework for improving focus, attention, and clarity in a scattered and distracted mind. During music therapy, your child will learn to play music, but also play in collaboration with others and write songs – all activities that are beneficial to the brain in more than one way.

  • Play therapy – Play is an essential part of growing up for all children. For kids who struggle with focus, play is also a good way to explore their feelings and connect with others. During play therapy, play is used to redirect uncomfortable emotions and gives an outlet for others that would otherwise lead to bad behavior.

 

 


8. Biofeedback/Neurofeedback

Biofeedback is a therapy that teaches you to monitor and change physiological activity such as your breathing rate, heart rate, and muscle function. With this ability, you can return your body to a calm, optimal state even in stressful situations.

Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that focuses on your brain waves. During a training session, your brainwaves are monitored using scalp sensors. A therapist uses this information to help you recognize when your brain is operating at the optimal level.

While it sounds complicated, kids as young as six have seen improvements in focus, attention, and memory after they completed neurofeedback therapy. Granted, this isn’t a one-and-done cure, but rather a supplementary treatment that should be used alongside other treatments.

 

9. Focus Games For Kids

Beyond therapies, there are additional games you can play with your child to promote focus, attention, and concentration. It’s a fun way to practice these skills without your child being any wiser.

A few simple ones you can do anywhere include:

I Spy – Playing this game can teach your child to slow down and appreciate the world around them. The goal is to pinpoint one small element of the environment – for instance, a small yellow flower, a stop sign, or a puffy cloud in the sky – while the other person asks questions to guess what it is.

Safari walk – Go on a walk around your neighborhood or at the park. The goal of the game is to find as many bugs, birds, animals, and living things as they can. Anything that moves, flies, crawls, or swims is fair game.

Turn to stone – Ask your child to lay on their back and close their eyes. Tell them to squeeze and scrunch every single muscle in their body as hard as they can: eyes, face, arms, hands, legs, feet, etc. Tell them to imagine they’re turning to stone. Hold for a few seconds, then have them relax. This exercise is especially useful for when your child is feeling frustrated or angry, as it gives them an awareness of their body and where they might be holding tension physically.

 

10. Parent Training

Parents, don’t forget that you can train yourself to encourage focused behavior in your child and improve your bond with them.

Parent training helps you recognize and praise positive behaviors when you see them, ignore mildly negative behaviors, and address major misbehaviors constructively.

 

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The Complete ADHD Focus Planner Workbook For Mom's Whose Child Has ADHD

Conclusion

Focus and concentration aren’t totally inherent qualities. Even if your child is constantly distracted, unfocused, and hyperactive, they still can build skills and gear their brains for better focus.

Every parent’s approach will look different because every child is unique. The strategies you use, therapies and exercises you try, and routines you implement are dependent on your home life, your child’s needs, and what will work best for your family. 

Finally, remember that no single technique is a cure-all. However, if you use a combination of strategies, you might find you have better luck and bigger improvements than relying on one alone.

Time, patience, and dedication are essential to improve your child’s attention and focus in any environment. If you don’t see changes at first, don’t lose heart. You’ve taken the first few steps to ensure your child has the skills to succeed no matter what life throws at them – keep going!

 

Are you ready to implement some of these techniques right away as your child becomes part of the FastBraiin family?

 

 

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The Complete ADHD Focus Planner Workbook

Everything you need to start improving the focus and concentration of your child.